For the Grio’s new “Single and Fabulous” series journalist Jacque Reid recently spoke with mental health expert Asha Tarry about Black women being unfairly tagged with the Angry Black Woman label and how it affects our relationship with men.
During their chat, Reid wondered why so many Black men are quick to call Black women angry when we both face the same sort of issues every single day.
She explains: “It’s one thing for the rest of the world to unfairly label Black women as angry, but it really bothers me when Black men do it especially because they deal with it themselves being unfairly labeled as angry. And then they’re so quick to label us as angry, or bitter.”
While it’s annoying to be hit with the ABW tag when you’re merely expressing yourself, we shouldn’t have to swallow our feelings simply to get along with others or be seen as a human being, rather than a stereotype, either.
Let’s be clear: Black women have every right to be angry.
Every aspect of our lives from our hair and bodies, to our ability to parent and our relationship choices have been fodder for public criticism; we are often subject to both racism and sexism and abuse; and historically, particularly in the colonized diaspora, as Ms. Zora put it, we’ve been “de mule uh de world.”
Black women have had to fight for every ounce of progress we’ve made in this country, despite being oppressed by nearly every community (including our own). So excuse us if we don’t want lower our voices or plaster on a smile on our faces when we’re hurt, upset, or yes, angry.
My bad, son.
My sentiments were summed up perfectly by DT of the Facebook page, For Black Women—What Not to Buy.
You know what, I personally don’t care much if people think I am angry. I am and have good reason to be. I think we need to rethink this whole “Angry Black Woman thing”. Some of us have every right to be yet we are being shamed for being angry. So basically we are being bullied into hiding our emotions about all the crap that is directed at us. When I see an “Angry Black Woman”, I prefer the to call them intense, I understand where it is coming from. I am smart enough not to stand in the line of fire though.
So what the world is basically telling us is to accept our situation and be pleasant. Fuck that!
Calling a Black woman angry is nothing more than tactic to minimize and dismiss our feelings. The Angry Black Woman stereotype is nothing more than a whip to keep us in line, shame us into suppressing our emotions, and bully us into swallowing our hurt because discussing what’s really going on makes others uncomfortable.
Are some Black women angry? Hell yeah!
But we have every right to be, and we shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it either.